Thanks to the NZ Writers Ezine for this.
"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are."
~ Somerset Maugham
How I laughed. Especially as I am going through a particularly difficult week when three magic rules would just do the trick. It reminds me of something I heard back in the dark ages when I sold magazine advertising space. Something about how only 5% of advertising works; if we knew which 5%, we'd all be very rich. The upshot being that you just have to go for it and some of it will stick.
I think I'll just apply that to my writing until the funk has lifted.
Maugham's quote just illustrates how much people want guidance - that if they just knew what the secrets, the 'rules' were, then they could churn out a masterpiece. Bookman Beattie pointed out a quote from Jonathan Coe in the Guardian: "Is there a secret to writing?" Coe: "Yes."